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Author Topic: Lucky to be alive!!!!  (Read 6153 times)
LEAD PIPE
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« on: May 16, 2005, 12:32:46 PM »

Well I opened the hive. (my first time) The bees have been in for 7 days. As soon as I took the top cover off the queen came running out of her queen cage and dropped into the hive. The queen cage was to high and the top cover was blocking the hole to let her out. I was kind of bummed because I was hoping to see some eggs. Oh well, a least she's out now.

Now for the nightmare.

There was a large piece of comb formed in the space where the queen cage was, almost the size of a a full frame, but thicker. I took out the frame it was stuck to and took it off the frame. As soon as it popped off the frame it broke into 2 pieces. One piece was in my hand (about 2 inches of comb) and the much larger piece that fell on the ground. I estimate about 62 million bees were on this comb. About 1 million of them were buzzing around my head and the remaining 61 million were in the leafs in front of the hive. I must admit I wanted to run screaming like a school girl into the house. (No offence to any school girls reading this) I then tried to smoke the bees that were buzzing me which only made them angrier. I knelt down in front of the hive and tried lifting the bees on the ground onto the landing board but they just kept crawling up my hands and arms. I watched for a while, hoping the bees would fly up to the entrance but they refused. I went to the garage and got a board and made a ramp for the bees to climb up on. It took a couple of minutes for the first few bees to make it to the entrance. When they got there they held on to the board, put their stingers up in the air and started flapping their wings like crazy. I thought this might be some kind of attack signal so I moved further away and watched from behind a tree. More and more bees started moving up the ramp and joined there friends in this "attack" position. No bees came out of the hive after me so I figured I was safe, for now. I got another batch of sugar syrup and filled the feeder. By the time I put the top back on 61 million bees were back in the hive or on the landing board. I took down the ramp and got the hell out of there.
I am happy to say that through all that I got no stings. My heart is still racing though. It has to get better from here.
Thanks for the advice in my previous posts and for listening.


Oh yeah, when you remove the queen cage I recommend that you don't put it in your pants pocket. I was a bit unnerved to see a long string of bees hanging down my leg. Luckily they were all on the outside.
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leominsterbeeman
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« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2005, 12:58:39 PM »

Quote
When they got there they held on to the board, put their stingers up in the air and started flapping their wings like crazy. I thought this might be some kind of attack signal so I moved further away and watched from behind a tree. More and more bees started moving up the ramp and joined there friends in this "attack" position.


They were just signialing that this is the way back to the hive for the others.

Quote
By the time I put the top back on 61 million bees were back in the hive or on the landing board. I took down the ramp and got the hell out of there.


61,000,000 bees!  Now that's a strong colony!  
Just remember to remain calm and no quick jaring movements.  Give them a few days to settle down and have the queen to start laying eggs and to have larve develop (1 week - the larve should be big enough to see. )


Quote
I  am happy to say that through all that I got no stings. My heart is still racing though. It has to get better from here.


Stay covered up with a beesuit, veil and gloves at all times when working at the hive.  Go during mid-day when most of the bees are looking for food.  10AM - 2PM ; and warm and sunny.
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Robo
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« Reply #2 on: May 16, 2005, 02:26:09 PM »

You have now learned golden rule #1.  Always, always, always make sure frames of foundation are tightly against one another.  Otherwise 110% of the time the bees will fill the space with comb instead of drawing the foundation.

Don't feel too bad about the queen not getting out.  Any eggs she would have laid would have been in the comb you removed anyway wink
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #3 on: May 16, 2005, 02:26:26 PM »

As already mentioned the bees fanning were not giving off "attack" pheromone, they were giving on Nasonov pheromone.

Just because bees are in the air does not mean they are trying to sting you.  You will get the feeling you are in a hail storm when they are trying to sting you.  They will be hitting your veil.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #4 on: May 16, 2005, 02:55:14 PM »

Quote from: LEAD PIPE
Now for the nightmare.

  When they got there they held on to the board, put their stingers up in the air and started flapping their wings like crazy. I thought this might be some kind of attack signal so I moved further away and watched from behind a tree. More and more bees started moving up the ramp and joined there friends in this "attack" position. .



I know it happened and I shouldn't laugh but thats funny as heck the way he discribed what happened !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I CANT STOP LAUGHING !!!!!!!!   SORRY !!! cheesy  wink
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Lechwe
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« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2005, 03:05:44 PM »

Sounds like you had a succesful first inspection. It will only get easier and better for you.

One last piece of advice as if you need anymore. When you open you hive to work them do it form teh back or teh side. Try and stay away from the front. This will help with not getting 61 million bees worked up.

Good luck
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Beecharmer
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« Reply #6 on: May 16, 2005, 04:15:29 PM »

"I must admit I wanted to run screaming like a school girl into the house. (No offence to any school girls reading this)"

I know this wasn't funny when it was happening, but I found it hilarious! cheesy
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thegolfpsycho
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« Reply #7 on: May 16, 2005, 09:00:11 PM »

BAHAHAHAHAH.... Now thats a good beekeeper story!!!  61,000,000 got back into the hive.  What happened to the other 1,000,000?  heheheheheh... No stings, queen got released.... sounds like a good day in the bee yard!!
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bill
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2005, 12:21:02 AM »

where else could you have this kind of thrills  lol. also the bees fanning their bums were sending a pheromone signal that told the other bees to come in
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billiet
LEAD PIPE
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2005, 02:27:43 AM »

Yea it was a crazy day, but I must say I learned a lot. It can only get easier from here. I watched the hive before dark and I had bees bringing in pollen so I'm hopeful that things are getting back to normal. I also took a look at the piece of comb that dropped and each cell was 1/2 filled with uncapped honey. It was a bit watery but it tasted like honey. Is there any way to give this back to the bees without encouraging robbing?
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Miss Chick-a-BEE
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« Reply #10 on: May 17, 2005, 07:13:13 AM »

You just have the one hive, right?

Someone correct me if I'm wrong...... but what would be the problem with just leaving the comb on the landing board, lid, ground, or in a bowl?

I only have two hives, currently set up about 5 feet from eachother. Maybe I'm taking a "risk" but there are times I have to cut a little comb here and there, sometimes it's brood filled and other times it's filled with nectar. But I just let it lay near the hive. I haven't started a robbing situation yet.

Beth
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LEAD PIPE
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« Reply #11 on: May 17, 2005, 10:46:55 AM »

Yes just one hive. It seems logical to give this comb back to the bees but the 2 books I read “The queen and I” & “Bee keeping for Dummies” say don't leave anything sugary around the hive. Maybe if I pit it in with their feeder water It would flavor it a bit?
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #12 on: May 17, 2005, 09:38:33 PM »

I am sorry but that is pretty funny, lol, attack position, lol cheesy
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Ryan Horn
SherryL
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« Reply #13 on: May 18, 2005, 08:52:20 AM »

Wow!  Sorry to hear your first experience was a scary one - they won't all be"e" that way - promise!  wink

Bee's are pretty forgiving too, they won't hold it against you on your next visit.
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LEAD PIPE
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« Reply #14 on: May 18, 2005, 09:03:21 AM »

I hope not!

When you have to remove a large piece of bur comb with bees all over it how do you do it and what to you do with the comb once it’s dislodged? Brush off the bees first? I am trying to learn as much as possible from this experience.
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SherryL
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« Reply #15 on: May 18, 2005, 09:44:38 AM »

Yes, the best thing to do is to get as many bees off as possible before you start surgery on the comb.

Try giving them a little smoke, then with bee brush in hand, just gently brush them down onto the top of the remaining frames, back into the hive.  You'll never bee 100% bee free, but with fewer bees in the area you need to work, it'll be less stressful for you.  Then take your hive tool and slowly and gently (no abrupt movements here) work that burr comb off.  I keep an old applesauce or mayo jar in my little 'kit' and put the burr comb in that.

I experienced a similar situation 2 days ago.  I was up visiting my bees to split the hive and add a honey super.  When I opened the hive it was VERY much in need of splitting - the bees were literally flowing over.  I got the 3 boxes separated from each other and put covers over the boxes I wasn't working on, but the first box I needed to check, and the first frame (the very back one) I went to pull out was attached to the frame in front of it with capped honey.  When I pulled it apart, the cappings came open and I had a frame with about a 4" diameter area of now uncapped honey  and the corresponding frame next to it with sticky burr - what a mess.  I put the open comb on the ground and covered it so I could work thru the rest of the box, but what a mess.

LONG story short, I did split the hive and get the honey super on, gave the girls the damage back to let them repair (with my apologies), and came away with only one sting.

One thing that I've found helpful, especially later in the summer when the hives grow and they have honey they're protecting, is plastic covers for the hives.  You may have a time where you are checking a 2 or 3 deep hive or you're taking honey off and need to keep it covered.  These are the covers I have, but you could very inexpensively make them yourself.

http://www.beeworks.com/usacatalog/items/item139.htm
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #16 on: May 18, 2005, 09:45:44 AM »

I suppose I should have two buckets with lids in the apiary.  One for honey comb and one for burr or culled comb.

But I don't.  So I just throw it a few feet in front of the hive and let them rob it out.
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Michael Bush
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Apis629
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« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2005, 12:08:10 PM »

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I estimate about 62 million bees were on this comb.


I know this may sound rude but a colony of 200,000 bees is extreamly uncommon.  Therefore, how could it even be possible to have 310 times that amount.   Sorry but I think you are off by 61,938,000.
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gsferg
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« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2005, 02:34:42 PM »

Hehehe... attack position... Fire One!

When I was a kid, one of our mates was convinced that bees could actually shoot their stingers at you. I remember trying to de-bunk this theory but the kid was convinced.

George-
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LEAD PIPE
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« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2005, 02:23:07 PM »

Quote from: Apis629
Quote
I estimate about 62 million bees were on this comb.


I know this may sound rude but a colony of 200,000 bees is extreamly uncommon.  Therefore, how could it even be possible to have 310 times that amount.   Sorry but I think you are off by 61,938,000.


Are you Ben Stein from the "clear eyes" commercials?
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